Ryan Hall, the nation’s top marathoner who already has qualified for the 2012 United States Olympic team, will lead more than 5,000 Dade County middle school students in running the final 1.2 miles of the 2012 ING Run For Something Better® program on January 29 as part of festivities at the ING Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon®.

 The students have been training for their final run for the past several months as part of the 10-year-old program that is designed to promote health and fitness to kids. The run will begin near the steps of the county courthouse at 11 a.m. and Hall will lead the pack of youngsters down Flagler Street to the ING Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon® finish line, where they will enjoy the experience of finishing a real distance race down the half-marathon chute.

Other celebrities who will join Hall and the kids on the run include Dr. Andy Baldwin, a U.S. Navy physician and media personality who is a former star of the ABC hit series The Bachelor, national fitness guru Donna Richardson Joyner, the star of more than 25 award-winning exercise videos, marathoner Dane Rauschenberg and Shannon Ford, the reigning Mrs. United States.

The ING Run For Something Better® is again aligning with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign, which hopes to solve the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. That initiative involves diet and exercise such as training for the ING Run For Something Better.

“Through Physical Education, students train for the ING Run For Something Better program,” said Dr. Jayne Greenberg, District Director for Physical Education and Health Literacy for Dade County Schools. “The program began as a goal-setting program. It not only teaches you about the importance of being physically active, but also how to set a goal, work hard toward your goal and to achieve your goal.

“If you can set a goal to be physically active every day, you can take that same goal-setting and apply it to everything that you do. We are trying to apply it to teachers, administrators, custodians, and cafeteria staffs by incorporating Let’s Move into the ING Run For Something Better program. We want everybody in Miami-Dade Schools to be healthy.”

The Miami program for kids began in 2003 with a few hundred Dade County middle school students and has grown every year. Now the swarm of youngsters, clad in orange ING Run For Something Better® shirts and orange shoe laces, racing to the finish line is as much a part of South Florida’s largest distance running event as the Marathon itself.

“We’re pleased that ING Run For Something Better® has touched the lives of so many youth in Miami-Dade County schools,” said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president of Corporate Responsibility. “It’s encouraging to see so many students on the road to adopting healthier lifestyles as ING continues its mission to combat child obesity.”

The kids in the ING Run For Something Better® are in the midst of a 15-week training program at their respective schools, running a minimum of 25 miles over that period of time. The 1.2 mile finale is a celebration run of their participation in the program, and the participating kids will receive orange shoe laces, a t-shirt, a medal and a post-race snack upon completion of their final mile. While there are 5,000 kids running the final mile on race day, 11,000 students are participating in the ING Run For Something Better® program.

“The ING Run For Something Better® program becomes an important initiative to develop an appreciation for physical activity through running among middle school age students,” said Dave Scott, General Manager of US Road Sports & Entertainment of Florida and Race Director of the ING Miami Marathon.  “Each passing year this program has grown and these youngsters will be joining the ranks of a growing health and fitness generation. I honestly believe that kids love to run and proof of that is very visible on Sunday morning when that wave of Orange hits Biscayne Boulevard.”

The schools participating in the ING Run For Something Better® program are Ada Merritt K-8 Center, Allapattah Middle School, Ammons Middle School, Aspira E. M. de Hostos Charter School, Avocado Elementary School, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, Campbell Dr. Middle School, Carol City Middle School, Citrus Grove Middle School, Charter School at Waterstone, Coral Reef Elementary School, Cutler Ridge Middle School, Devon Aire K-8 Center, Doctors Charter School, Doral Academy Elementary School, Emerson Elementary School, Ethel/Beckford Richmond Elementary School, Fienberg Fisher K-8 Center, Golden Glades Elementary School, G. W. Carver Middle School, Hammocks Middle School, Henry Filer Middle School, Hialeah Gardens Middle School, Howard D. McMillan School, Jorge Mas Canosa Middle School, Jose Marti MAST Academy, Kenwood K-8 Center, Key Biscayne K-8 Center, Lawton Chiles Middle School, Lake Stevens Middle School, Miami Edison Middle School, Miami Heights Elementary School, Miami Lakes K-8 Center, Nautilus Middle School, Palm Springs Middle School, Pincrest Academy, Richmond Heights Middle School, Rockway Middle School, Somerset Academy Silver Palms, South Dade Middle School, St. Theresa Catholic School, St. Hugh Catholic School, St.Agnes Academy, Sunset Park Elementary School, Tropical Elemenetary School, Vineland K-8 Center, Winston Park K-8 Center, Young Womens Prepatory Academy

About US Road Sports
US Road Sports & Entertainment Group is a health and wellness company dedicated to the production of world-class endurance events.  The mission of US Road Sports is to offer an unparalleled participant sports experience that showcases host communities and endures as a deeply valued local asset through events that are a part of the city’s culture, identity and brand.  For each participant, US Road Sports strives to offer events that allow participants of all skill levels the opportunity to improve their physical and mental health and accomplish life-altering goals while having fun.  US Road Sports provides sponsors and municipalities highly effective exposure to help maximize their presence and message in the community.

About ING
INGU.S. is a subsidiary of Dutch-based ING Groep N.V.  In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits and financial planning. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 15 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit http://ing.us.

About ING Run For Something Better®
ING Run For Something Better® helps fund school-based running programs in an effort to combat childhood obesity. Linked to ING’s running sponsorships and commitment to education, the program helps introduce kids to the benefits of physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Nationally, ING has committed over $2.75 million to fund grants and school-based running programs through ING Run For Something Better®. Since 2006, $1.4 million has also been raised by individual donors through a special charitable fund that encourages others to support the cause through their own contributions. In addition, when someone donates $10 or more to ING Run For Something Better®, ING will recognize their contribution with a pair of orange shoelaces to show that they are “tied” to supporting kids’ fitness. One hundred percent of the net proceeds go to the ING Run For Something Better fitness programs. For more information about the ING Run For Something Better and orange laces, go to www.orangelaces.com or connect at www.facebook.com/orangelaces.

About the ING Foundation
The ING Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children’s education, diversity and environmental sustainability.  For more information, visit www.ing-usafoundation.com.